When was the last time you checked the ingredients of your regular shampoo and conditioner or hair cream?
Are you in the habit of a quick wash, cream and go with no real thought about what you’re putting into your hair? If so, you might be surprised to find that there are some real nasties lurking in commercial hair products which could damage your hair, scalp, skin and hormones.
Read on for what to avoid and what to embrace.
First the bad guys:
SLSs and SLEs
SLSs (sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate) along with ammonium lauryl sulfate and, sodium laureth sulfate are commonly listed on many brands of shampoo. They create the white foaming agent which looks so appealing on TV adverts but isn’t actually necessary or natural. Your hair can get perfectly clean without the foam.
Are they safe? Well, not so much. SLS’s are actually detergent meaning that their cleaning power is overwhelming for human hair. They strip essential oils, break down protein and cause breakage. In fact they seem to be the perfect antidote to healthy hair!
The danger lies in constant use of these products. The molecular size of their bad by-products which aren’t removed during processing renders them small enough to gain access to our bodies.
To date studies show no conclusive proof that SLS and SLES will cause harm, but the information is enough to warrant a second thought before buying and applying them to our hair and skin.
Sadly almost all mass manufactured hair-care products contain some form of alcohol in varying degrees and, just as alcohol dehydrates the body it can also dehydrate your hair. If this is listed as one of the first four ingredients it means that the amount in the product is pretty high which, of course is detrimental. Steer clear.
By the time you pick up a bottle of shampoo it’s probably been sitting on the shelf for several weeks. This means it’s going to need a preservative to keep it fresh and useable. This is where parabens such as methylparaben and propylparaben come in. They prolong the shelf life of an average hair-care product which is good news for manufacturer and retailers, but for the consumer they’re basically toxic. They irritate your skin and scalp and affect hormone imbalance, resulting in hair loss.
Synthetic Fragrance or Parfum
A product with a sweet, flowery fragrance is pretty enticing but did you know that this smell is created by a complex mixture of approximately 3,000 chemicals? Unsurprisingly these chemicals act as irritants on your scalp.
Lanolin, Petroleum, and Mineral Oil
Most women of colour will have memories of products filled with Lanolin, Petroleum, (Vaseline, anyone?) and various types of mineral oil resting on the shelves of the bathroom cabinet and the dressing tables of their mothers. At least once a week these creams, pomades, oils and lotions would be applied to hair and scalp as part of a solid hair care moisturizing routine.
Little did we know that these products offered almost nothing in the way of moisturising benefits and actually prevented natural oils produced by the scalp from being absorbed by the hair shaft, In addition, they also weighed hair down.
And now, the good guys!
Whatever your hair care need there is a natural solution which will nourish, care for and ultimately bring out the best in your hair. Even better, with the rise in interest in all things natural for our bodies, our food and of course how we look, these products no longer cost the earth.
Always Read The Bottle
When shopping for natural hair products look for the words ‘organic’, 'virgin' and ‘cold pressed,’ on the label. Avoid products which have the ingredients listed above as it generally means they’re not pure and are mineral or synthetic rather than natural.
Look for brands which source and use organic ingredients and wherever possible opt for cold-pressed oils which means that no heat has been added during extraction leaving them as close to their original state as possible.
We recommend that you try Shetai Natural Hair Butter, this contains Organic Shea Butter along with Coconut, Vitamin E and Peppermint Essential oils. Remember that with Shetai you’ll never find any additives or preservatives. They are freshly handmade to order and have a shelf life of 1 year. We’re 100% natural and always will be.
These ingredients are effective moisturisers and moisture sealants which work in harmony with afro-hair, reducing breakage, shedding and overall dryness when applied using the LOC Method.
A Quick Guide To Natural Ingredients
Many people have previously shield away from natural hair products feeling the cost to be prohibitive and perhaps being unaware of their amazing qualities. However, a rising interest in natural hair and skin care has prompted an array of quality products coming onto the market covering all price ranges and catering to all types.
We really believe that using natural products is better for you in the long term. You’re essentially making an investment in yourself which will enable your hair to thrive, so it’s got to be worth it!
If you’ve recently switched to totally natural shampoos and creams and conditioners, leave a comment and let us know what’s working for you.